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Microsoft Invents $1.15/Hour Homework Fee For Kids 580

theodp writes "Microsoft's vision of your computing future is on display in its just-published patent application for the Metered Pay-As-You-Go Computing Experience. The plan, as Microsoft explains it, involves charging students $1.15 an hour to do their homework, making an Office bundle available for $1/hour, and billing gamers $1.25 for each hour of fun. In addition to your PC, Microsoft also discloses plans to bring the chargeback scheme to your cellphone and automobile — GPS, satellite radio, backseat video entertainment system. 'Both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model,' concludes Microsoft, while conceding that 'the supplier can develop a revenue stream business that may actually have higher value than the one-time purchase model currently practiced.' But don't worry kids, that's only if you do more than 52 hours of homework a year!"

Managing Last.FM's "Mountain of Data" 139

Rob Spengler writes "Last.FM co-founder Richard Jones says the biggest asset the company owns is 'hundreds of terabytes of user data.' Jones adds, '... playing with that data is one of the most fun things about working at the company.' Last.FM, for those who have been living on Mars for the last two years, is the largest online radio outlet, with millions of listeners per day. The company surpassed Pandora and others largely due to its unique datamining features: 'Audioscrobbler,' the company's song/artist naming algorithm, can correctly determine a track even with tens of thousands of false entries. Jones says sitting on that much data has even helped police: 'thieves listening to music on an Audioscrobbler-powered media player have helped police in the US, UK, and other countries track down users' stolen laptops.' Does sitting on a mountain of data make Last.FM powerful enough to start making a stand against the record industry? CBS certainly thinks so — they bought the company for £140 (~$200) million last year."
Data Storage

Submission + - Best way to store imporant personal data? 2

DoofusOfDeath writes: I'm about to digitize lots of old family photos and videos. At some point the digital versions will be the only ones we can find. What's the best way to store large amounts of personal data that's practical, affordable, and minimizes the risk of losing the data?
Data Storage

Submission + - VHS finally dies a death, no really 1

thefickler writes: The last major supplier of VHS videotapes, is ditching the format in favor of DVD, effectively killing the format for good. This uncharitable commentator has this to say:"Will VHS be missed? Not ... with videos being brittle, clunky, and rather user-unfriendly. But they ushered in a new era that was important to get to where we are today. And for that reason, the death of VHS is rather sad. Almost as sad as the people still using it."

Comment Common Rule of Microwavery: (Score 1) 135

after 10 seconds of microwaving.

Overkill; five or six seconds are almost always enough to make a smoking mess out of most anything worth putting in there, but only when the item in question should never be microwaved in the first place(tm).

Which is to say; "food (and so on) should be taken to, at least eleven(tm) , (..and possibly beyond.)

- You're welcome.

Data Storage

Researchers Create Graphite Memory 10 Atoms Thick 135

CWmike writes "Researchers at Rice University have demonstrated a new data storage medium made out of a layer of graphite only 10 atoms thick. The technology could potentially provide many times the capacity of current flash memory and withstand temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius and radiation that would make solid-state disk memory disintegrate. 'Though we grow it from the vapor phase, this material [graphene] is just like graphite in a pencil. You slide these right off the end of your pencil onto paper. If you were to place Scotch tape over it and pull up, you can sometimes pull up as small as one sheet of graphene. It is a little under 1 nanometer thick,' Professor James Tour said."

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